“Manifesto” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Elena D. Clark

-Who is Elena D. Clark?

Actress, independent filmmaker and entrepreneur. I came to the States to entertain people after I sold my law firm in Russia. I’m a winner of the “Best actress” award in Sweet Democracy Film Awards in 2023, and “Best Female Actor” in Manhattan Rep’s Stories Film Festival in 2021, both for the role of Marianne in a short film “Manifesto“. 

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

My objective is to share my story and historical insights, which I learned growing up in communist Russia, with the rest of the world through motion picture, so we all can learn from those who lived before. 

I’m on a mission to inform people through the film how to avoid the worst mistakes in life management and be financially free, and how the wealthiest men on our planet use their knowledge about Marxism and Communism to remain rich. 

With this, I interview people who succeeded in artistic expression and finance, on my podcast “Boost your creativity and bank account with Elena”, which is a two-time winner of the “Best Podcast” award in 8 & Halfilm Awards and Morgana Film Festival in 2023. 

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in society?

If more people find their voice and share their stories with others with honesty, then yes. Cinema is an audio-visual tool that can stimulate the masses. Cinema shares invaluable experiences and priceless  historical lessons, whilst entertaining people at the same time.

-What would you change in the world?

My hope is to witness a true development of the free market economy, free speech, and the fundamental freedoms and rights that we are all born with.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

Independent film and personalized cinematic work are becoming more popular, and more independent platforms are sharing that work. I see a segregation in the film industry versus monopolization in the film industry. Technology, increased access to high-quality cinema equipment, and education on how to make a professional film, are all factors that encourage people to express themselves, their passions and their messages through this incredibly powerful and provocative medium. 

It is my view that smaller groups of independent filmmakers will eventually take over the attention of a broad audience, because audiences will have more options and be able to join networks of independent filmmakers. Filmmakers will speak with their own voices and share real stories of ordinary people as opposed to a controlled narrative to the mainstream and made up stories about unreal heros created by Hollywood in the name of profit and power, rather than with love and passion. 

I see a greater level of honesty and diversity in the film industry, unless the global elite attempts to monopolize it. I see that more individuals will speak their truth through independent visual platforms for the good, or at least the stimulation of all. I put my heart into the work I love, with a sincere wish for the good of all, as we choose that the goodness of history repeats itself – and we learn from the rest. 

“I would make the world a kinder place” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Nahyr Galaz Ruiz

Who is Nahyr Galaz Ruiz? 

I am a multi-hyphenate filmmaker whose short films and scripts have been steadily causing ripples in the festival circuit. I am known for writing characters who reflect the duality in my bi-cultural experience as a Latina raised in sunny San Diego, interwoven with dramatic storylines pertaining to impossible love or family dynamics. I believe that art is the vehicle by which we convey truth and it is my mission to convey truth as I see it through my films and scripts. 

My debut feature screenplay, Dancing with Plato, achieved recognition at numerous film festivals including “Best Drama Screenplay,” “Best First Time Screenwriter,” and “Best Screenplay.” Additionally, I have received numerous awards including “Best Actress in Short,” “Best Director,” “Best First Time Director,” and “Best Student Short,” for my debut short film Everything I Never Said. My sophomore short film, El Encuentro, received “Best Original Story,” “Best Actress,” “Best Actor,” and “Best Script in Short.” My most recent film, Platonic Love, was recently submitted for this year’s round of film festivals and has already received awards for “Best Actress,” “Best Supporting Actor,” and “Best Supporting Actress.” It has also been nominated for “Best Original Score,” “Best Original Music,” and “Best Director.”

I am the recipient of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers’ Emerging Content Creators Scholarship for two consecutive years and have been one of nine writers selected for the Script Development program at the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto 2022 and 2023.

In addition to being a filmmaker, I am also a dance educator and choreographer, and advocate of dance education. It is my calling to use storytelling and filmmaking to elevate Latinx voices and representation in every facet of the industry.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I’ve always had a heart for storytelling and I believe I was sort of born a director.  When I was little, I would rewrite fairytales with my own spin on them, especially if I didn’t find the ending to my satisfaction. My grandmother worked for a daycare facility and I would help manage the children by organizing everyone into elaborate “productions” of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. As I got older and I found dance, I wasn’t satisfied with simply dancing, I wanted to create my own dances. So I began experimenting with choreography as a teenager. Eventually, that led me to found a dance company and I took that experience to film. Storytelling and directing to serve the story have always been at the forefront of my artistic pursuits. 

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Absolutely. I believe with cinema we have a unique medium through which we can communicate with our audience. Because cinema can entertain and most people go to see films to escape, be entertained, or feel something; our audience places themselves in our hands completely open to receive. Because of this, cinema has the ability to stir emotions in the viewer, to spark thought, to catalyze a more profound relationship with the message the filmmaker wants to express.  That message, that thought, that emotion; those stay with the audience and can change society. As a filmmaker, I feel the weight of that responsibility. 

What would you change in the world?

I would make the world a kinder place. I wish for a world in which we recognize our common humanity over our differences; where the lines and borders we’ve drawn become obsolete because we recognize our shared humanity and so we want to lift each other up.I often look at how children play in a park; it doesn’t matter whether they know each other or not; they just play together, problem-solve together, and work toward something together… without ego. I wish as adults we could do that. I wish we were kinder to each other. 

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

I don’t know that I can accurately predict where the film industry is headed in the next 100 years. What I do know is that we’re currently at a crossroads in film. Especially in mainstream Hollywood; there is a shift happening.                    In regards to representation and inclusivity in film, while we have a long way to go, it is exciting to see more of ourselves on the screen. I’m excited to see more of my gente represented on screen; to see our stories told. To see more BIPOC people, more LGBTQIA people, more talent over 40 represented… Those stories matter. To see the industry making strides to get these stories out in the world; stories that reflect the diversity that lives in society…. that matters. Representation matters. So, I hope that these strides mean the film industry will grow to a place where inclusivity and positive representation of marginalized communities are just a given in the next 100 years!

“가인” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with 원성호 Seongho Won

-Who is 원성호 Seongho Won?

Born in 2001, Daejeon, South Korea. the eldest of two sons of family. I’ve been holding a camera and taking pictures and videos since I couldn’t even remember. I liked this job, so I studied Visuals at Gongju National University’s Department of Visual Studies and chose cinematography as my sub major. Now I’m a 22-year-old cinematographer and director holding a pan bar and shouting, “Camera is Rolling!” I like classical music, so I listen to classical music more than watching movies and have been playing the flute for 10 years as a hobby. I won the Best short film category, best drama & arthouse film with my short film Gain.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I imagine becoming more successful in the future and becoming a cinematographer who have a request by many Hollywood directors like Roger Deakins. With that imagination, I imagine that I later get the title or nickname like Roger Deakins, or Rembrandt who uses light and shadow well. Imagining such a successful future allows me to continue making movies.

And this moment also inspires me to do a filmmaking. The experience of being able to win awards, conduct interviews, and let the world know about me allows me to continue this journey. I hope more moments like this will come.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Just as books have changed the world, I believe movies can change the world.

What would you change in the world?

I want to eliminate discrimination from ignorance. Everyone deserves dignity and respect.

Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

The film industry will continue to develop. More and more great works by directors will come out. And in the future, it will become a film industry that makes immersion and representation more realistic with the development of technology.